The impact of laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery on quality of life: do patients with atypical symptoms benefit?

Adam S. Weltz, Alex Addo, Andrew Broda, Kevin Connors, H. Reza Zahiri, Adrian Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may manifest atypically as cough, hoarseness or difficulty breathing. However, it is difficult to diagnostically establish a cause-and-effect between atypical symptoms and GERD. In addition, the benefit of laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (LARS) in patients with laryngopharyngeal manifestations of GERD are not well characterized. We report the largest series reported to date assessing operative and quality of life (QOL) outcomes after LARS in patients experiencing extraesophageal manifestations of GERD and discuss recommendations for this patient population. Methods: A retrospective review of patients with extraesophageal symptoms and pathologic reflux that underwent LARS between February 2012 and July 2019 was conducted. Inclusion criteria consisted of patients with atypical manifestations of GERD as defined by preoperative survey in addition to physiological diagnosis of pathological reflux. Patient QOL outcomes was analyzed using four validated instruments: the Reflux Symptom Index (RSI), Laryngopharyngeal Reflux QOL, Swallowing QOL (SWAL), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease-Health Related Quality of Life (GERD-HRQOL) surveys. Results: 420 patients (24% male, 76% female) with a mean age of 61.7 ± 13.0 years and BMI of 28.6 ± 5.0 kg/m2 were included in this study. Thirty-day wound (0.2%) and non-wound (6.74%) related complication rates were recorded in addition to thirty-day readmission rate (2.6%). Patients reported significant improvements in laryngopharyngeal symptoms at mean follow-up of 18.9 ± 16.6 months post LARS reflected by results of four QOL instruments (RSI − 64%, LPR − 75%, GERD-HRQOL − 80%, SWAL + 18%). The majority of patients demonstrated complete resolution of symptoms upon subsequent encounters with 68% of patients reporting no atypical extraesophageal manifestations during follow-up survey (difficulty breathing − 86%, chronic cough − 81%, hoarseness − 66%, globus sensation − 68%) and 68% of patients no longer taking anti-reflux medication. Seventy-two percent of patients reported being satisfied with their symptom control at latest follow-up. Conclusions: In appropriately selected candidates with atypical GERD symptomatology and objective diagnosis of GERD LARS may afford significant QOL improvements with minimal operative or long-term morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2515-2522
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Atypical symptoms
  • GERD
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • LARS
  • Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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